(7:1,2) Keep My Commandments and LIVE!
(Prov 7:1,2 KJV) My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” We embark upon a new chapter as God, through Solomon, continues to teach us His wisdom. These are Solomon’s words, but God is the voice behind the voice as He speaks to us as His children. We are to lay up these commandments within us. We are to do all we can to protect them. We are to ensure that God’s Word gets down into our heart. We should not merely know His Word with head knowledge, but we should have heart knowledge of it. It should travel down past our eyes and ears and get sown down into the soil of our heart; where it can bring forth the harvest that God intends for it to bring in our lives. We must not read God’s Word as just some other book, but rather as God’s book of life, as His instructions to live by, as His roadmap for success, fulfillment, godliness, and virtue.
Solomon says, “Keep my commandments, and live.” Yes, if we do our part, if we keep His commands, if we nurture them in the soil of our heart, if we apply them to every facet of our being, then we will LIVE, we will have the LIFE God intends for us to have. There are many humans on the planet today that are simply existing, but they are not LIVING. They are not enjoying the life Jesus died to give them. Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life, in abundance, to the full, ‘till it overflows (John 10:10 AMP).
He wants us to enjoy a vibrant, fulfilling and rewarding life. To do this, we must walk in accordance with His instruction. The text says that we are to keep His law (His Word) as the apple of our eye. The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge commentary says of this: “As the pupil of the eye, the hole or the opening of the uveous coat, or iris, through which the rays of light pass, and falling upon the retina, there depict every object in its natural color, as upon a piece of white paper. Now the pupil of the eye being essentially necessary to sight, and easily injured, it is not only, in common with the other parts, deeply entrenched in the skull, ramparted with the forehead and cheek bones, defended by the eyebrows, eyelids, and eyelashes, and placed so as to be best protected by the hands, but, by a wonderful mechanism, is contracted or dilated by the muscular power of the iris, without which an excess of light would cause instant blindness.”
Just as we protect our eyes, so that we can see, we must protect God’s Word in our lives, so that we can LIVE! Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4). We are called to live our lives by God’s Word. We are commanded to protect His Word in our heart. We are instructed to apply it to every area of our lives. We are urged to live it out by Faith! Why? Because God wants us to have and enjoy life – the God type of life – His best life for us NOW!
So what does this mean to you today? It means that God wants His best to be manifested in your life daily. He has given you a roadmap for life and that roadmap is His Word. Just as you protect your natural eyes, because they give you sight for living, you must protect His Word in your heart, because it gives you INSIGHT for living! Keep His Word and live. Apply His Word and enjoy the abundant life God has destined, designed, and desired for you!
Confession for today: Father, I attend to Your Word, I incline my ear to Your sayings, I keep them in the midst of my heart, I protect them from every leaving my inner man, for I know that they are life to me and health and healing to all my flesh. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Your Word is the difference maker for me. I read it, believe it, declare it, act upon it, and walk it out by faith! I keep Your commandments and LIVE! I have and enjoy the life You desire for me to have. I do not live by bread alone, but by every Word – written and those You speak to me in prayer – that proceeds from out of Your mouth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!
(7:3,4) Remembering the Word
(Prov 7:3,4 NIV) Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call understanding your kinsman.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” In our last message we learned how important God’s wisdom should be in our lives. When we receive and apply His wisdom, we literally open the door to the life He desires for us to live. Think about it for a moment. God went through the trouble of inspiring about 40 different authors, over the span of 1500 years, to make sure we had the 66 books that makeup the Bible today. He then worked through many translators and businessmen to get the Bible in print and available all over the world. This is His book of wisdom. Let me share with you a couple of powerful quotes about the importance of God’s Word:
Smith Wigglesworth: “The Bible is the Word of God: supernatural in origin, eternal in duration; inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope; regenerative in power, infallible in authority; universal in interest, personal in application; inspired in totality. Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on.”
John MacArthur: “This book contains: the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrine is holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be saved, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Here heaven is open, and the gates of hell are disclosed.
Christ is the grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, health to the soul, and a river of pleasure. It is given to you here in this life, will be opened at the judgment, and is established forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and condemn all who trifle with its contents.”
Solomon too, understood the importance of the Word of God. That’s why he did not want us to approach it like ‘just any other book.’ Its truths are so important that it should become the foundation for our lives. But you can’t live what you don’t know, that’s why you must read it; and you can’t apply what you don’t recall, that’s why you must remember it. Solomon tells us to do whatever it takes. If it takes tying a ribbon around our finger as a reminder or telling ourselves that God’s wisdom should be as welcome to us as our sister or a member of our family, we are to do whatever it takes.
So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should get creative in remembering God’s Word. Whether it’s a physical act like the ribbon or a mental one like the part about your sister, do whatever it takes. Today people us 3×5 cards in their organizers, post scriptures on their mirrors, use Christian screensavers, listen to the Bible on audio CD on the way to work or on their iPods while they are running, and the list could go on. Be creative. The Bible is no good to you if you can’t remember it when you need it. God went through the trouble of making sure you had it, it’s now up to you to make sure you remember it.
Confession for today: Father, I thank You for Your Word. Without Your Word I would not know much about You. You put forth the effort of ensuring that I had access to Your Word and now I do. Thank You! I declare, by faith, that I put forth the effort to ensure I read it, believe it, apply it, and remember it. When faced with a challenge, I have confidence that I can face that challenge the way You would want me to, because I have Your Word down in my heart! Your Word is the difference maker in my life. I read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and pass it on! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(7:5-20) Resisting Temptation
(Prov 7:5-20 MSG) (v.5) They’ll be with you to fend off the Temptress– that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God,” by doing something I don’t normally do – cover 16 verses in one message. Solomon has been teaching us about the importance of learning from and applying God’s wisdom to our lives. Yesterday he told us about the practical and mental exercises we could do to remember God’s Word. The point being that we need to do whatever it takes to get it down in our heart, because once it’s down in our heart, it becomes a part of us. At that point we don’t have to say, “The Bible says,” but we can say, “Like I always say.” Once God’s Word gets down in the fabric of our being, it will affect every area of our lives. I like how God, through Solomon, teaches by precept, principle and example. In this passage he gives us an example. After telling us that God’s Word, down in our heart, will enable us to fend off the smooth-talking, honey-tongued seductress, he tells us a story of how she attempts to lure young men into sin:
“As I stood at the window of my house looking out through the shutters, watching the mindless crowd stroll by, I spotted a young man without any sense, arriving at the corner of the street where she lived, then turning up the path to her house. It was dusk, the evening coming on, the darkness thickening into night. Just then, a woman met him– she’d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him. Brazen and brash she was, restless and roaming, never at home, walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town. She threw her arms around him and kissed him, boldly took his arm and said, “I’ve got all the makings for a feast– today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid, so now I’ve come to find you, hoping to catch sight of your face–and here you are! I’ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed, colorful imported linens. My bed is aromatic with spices and exotic fragrances. Come, let’s make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking! My husband’s not home; he’s away on business, and he won’t be back for a month” (verses 6-20 MSG).
First of all, let me say that the Bible is awesome. There is an answer to all of life’s questions and challenges in the Bible; we just have to find and apply them. Solomon tells us that this young man has no sense. He is basically telling us that he does not have the wisdom of God. Now, without the wisdom of God deep down in his heart – without any internal call to righteousness – what do you think he is going to do in this case? I can imagine the headline of a tabloid about this passage: “Tempting hot married housewife invites young senseless man over for ecstatic sex!” How do you think the rest of the story would read? But now, what if this young man was a man of God? What if he had the Word deep down in his heart? What if the Word was the foundation for his character and conduct? Even then, the offer might be tempting, but he would be equipped to resist it.
So what does this mean to you today? It means that being a Christian does not exonerate you from the temptation to do wrong, but with the internal nudging of the Holy Spirit and with the powerful truths of God’s Word in your heart, you are equipped to overcome temptation. The enemy has been tracking you your entire life. He knows what you like and he will do all he can to get you off course. But when you are rooted and grounded in God’s Word and His love you can resist the temptation to do wrong and consistently make Godly decisions to do right!
Confession for today: Father, I know that I am in the world and that I will face temptations, obstacles, and challenges. But I also know that You live in me and that Your Word is rooted deep down in my heart. I know there are things that I will have to COME OVER and that’s why You called me an OVERCOMER! I resist the temptation to do wrong and I consistently make Godly decisions to do right. It’s not that I won’t have to fight, it’s that I believe that with You on my side, I will always WIN! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper!
(7:21-27) Resisting Temptation (Part II)
(Prov 7:21-27 MSG) (v.27) She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin.
This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.” Yesterday Solomon told us about the smooth-talking, honey-tongued seductress. We learned how she is out to beguile men, especially young men, with her sweet words, her good looks and her willingness to provide them physical pleasure. This morning we read ‘the rest of the story.’ Solomon goes on to say:
“Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech. Before you know it, he’s trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop, like a stag lured into ambush and then shot with an arrow, like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flying life is over. So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously. Don’t fool around with a woman like that; don’t even stroll through her neighborhood. Countless victims come under her spell; she’s the death of many a poor man. She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin” (verses 21-27 MSG).
Solomon does not mince words here. He is absolutely clear that: 1) the enemy uses temptation as a tool in his arsenal against us, 2) his pulls out all the stops – if the offer were not a good one, then it would not be tempting, 3) his goal is to get you to accept the temptation and to deviate from God’s path for your life, and 4) his path – the path you take when you follow the temptation – leads to death.
James said it this way, “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:13-15).
Solomon tells us to avoid her street altogether. Paul told us, “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27). If you give him an inch, he will want a mile. If you give him your attention for 5 seconds, he will consume your mind for 5 minutes, and the negative images left over from that session might bother you for hours. So don’t play around with sin; not even what you consider ‘small sin.’ Sin is sin to God. This is serious business. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is not going to happen “this time.” Sin gives birth to death. Our text says that the enemy wants to fit you for a shroud and a coffin. Don’t give him the chance.
So what does this mean to you today? It means that you should avoid temptation at all cost. Walk down another street. Avoid the things you know you have a weakness for. C.S. Lewis once wrote that from the devil’s vantage point “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Neal A. Maxwell once said, “If we entertain temptations, soon they will be entertaining us.” Resisting temptation is not easy, but it is worth it. There is a crown of life laid up for those that resist temptation (James 1:12). You may not be able to do it on your own, but you can do it with and under the power of God (Phil 4:13).
Confession for today: Father, I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. There is no quit and no fail in me. I am an overcomer and by faith, I declare, that I overcome temptation. I submit myself unto You Father, I resist the devil, and he flees from me. I renew my mind, by reading, accepting, applying, and living Your Word. As my mind is renewed I develop new desires and I no longer have the lustful desires for things of the world that I once had. And while I am going through that process, I avoid temptation road altogether. I walk down another street. I shall not be fitted for a shroud and coffin. I live long and I live strong! I am committed to completing my assignment, in the earth, before I die! In Jesus’ name. Amen.